If you are considering switching to a solar system, you may be wondering how long does it take to install solar panels? Several factors impact the timeline and the duration it takes to complete the installation. Keep reading to learn more.
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As a general rule of thumb, most companies can install solar panels between 1 to 3 days, depending on the amount of solar panels you want to install and the complexity involved.
How Long Does It Take to Install Solar Panels?
The entire process of installing solar panels does take time since the panels also need to be approved. Since each step has waiting periods, the timeline can differ depending on the panels you choose, your solar contractor, the number of people installing the panels, and where you live.
Below are the installation steps and the duration each step takes after signing a contract with a solar company.
Before ordering your solar panels, the solar company you choose to work with should send an expert to your home to assess your site and approve it. The expert should examine the electrical system and inform you whether it can support the energy you want to generate.
He should also tell you if the roof can handle the solar panel’s weight. During this step, you will also know if your home has problems. For instance, you may need to upgrade the electrical system to handle the energy you want your panel to produce if your home is old.
Additionally, if you have an aging roof, it doesn’t make economic sense to install solar panels on them and then uninstall them after a short period to replace the roof. The best thing to do is to replace the old roof before installing the panels.
This step is crucial as it will help you discover potential problems early than to identify them after installing the panels. Depending on your solar contractor’s schedule, this step can take 1-2 weeks to arrange the site visit.
Before installing your solar panels, your contractor should apply for a local government permit and inform them he will be working on your property. The permits differ depending on your location. They include construction, electrical and photovoltaic permits.
Depending on how busy the office is, the permits needed, and where you live, this step can take one week to several months. Although this process may take longer, it’s worth it because building permits ensure the solar company does work that protects your safety and meets the local building codes.
Applying for Solar Incentives
Since it isn’t cheap to invest in solar systems for your home, your solar company should reach out to the government for solar incentives. This will help you pay part of the bill while the government will shoulder the remaining portion.
Currently, the government offers a wide range of renewable energy incentives to people who invest in solar. For example, the Federal Investment Tax Credit (ITC) allows you to deduct 30% of your tax bill’s installation cost.
Moreover, most local and state governments provide incentive plans such as the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power. The solar contractor should identify all the incentives you are eligible for and help you fill the application forms.
Generally, this process happens when applying for permits, so it shouldn’t add more time to the installation timeline.
Ordering Your Solar System
Once the building permits have been approved, the contractor can order the panels and other installation equipment like the inverter and racks for connecting the system to your roof. This can take one day if the equipment is in stock.
However, if the equipment and solar panels are not available and need to be shipped from overseas, you may need to wait for several weeks before the equipment arrives.
Schedule Your Installation
Your solar company can now schedule the installation after placing your equipment order and approving the paperwork. This can last one week-1 month. However, it can take longer if the equipment doesn’t arrive in good time.
Another major factor that can derail the installation is your contractor’s schedule. He could be booked for many weeks in advance during the busy months. Although you may feel frustrated while waiting for their working calendar to clear, this shows that your preferred contractor has a good reputation.
If you don’t want the installation process to drag, start making appointments during the offseason. For instance, winter is usually slower for most installers and can speed up the process.
The Installation of Your Solar Panel
Finally, the installation day has arrived. This process is usually the quickest, especially after your solar installation is scheduled. You might even be surprised at how fast this step is completed. The solar company will arrive at your home with the solar systems and other required equipment to accomplish the task.
They will begin working on the wiring system before installing the panels. They can complete the installation in one day if you ordered a smaller panel or have a small home. For complicated, larger roofs and larger solar systems, it can take 2-3 days to complete.
After the panel is installed on your roof, you will need approval from a local government inspector before you can start producing energy. The inspections are necessary as they ensure your installer developed a system that meets the required standards.
Once your system is approved, the installer can turn on the system. This process can take one week depending on whether your solar panels require several assessments and your local government’s efficiency.
This is the last step. You only need to fill an application form asking your utility company to connect your solar panels. The company will install a meter to evaluate the amount of power you are generating. Depending on the utility company, this process can take two weeks.
Overall, installing solar panels can take a few weeks and sometimes several months. While this may look like a long period, don’t let it discourage you from turning to solar systems.
These systems are eco-friendly and can minimize your energy bills, saving you money in the long run. We hope you have enjoyed reading this article, and we have answered how long does it take to install solar panels?